Collections and Research
The Archives collection is composed of 800 sets of documents, most of which are archives from individuals, families or organizations, or special collections organized around a theme or type of document. Totalling nearly 310 linear metres, these archives cover the entire history of Canada, but focus more specifically on that of Montreal and Montrealers during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Documents include personal, administrative, financial and legal texts like correspondence, diaries, minutes, books of account and deeds of sale. In addition, there are publications, maps, plans and ephemera, such as dance cards, advertisements and menus. The collection was initially built up by focussing on specific areas of acquisition associated with the history of events and figures of importance to Montreal and Canada. Its more recent acquisitions concentrate on the domestic affairs of several families, business and industry, armed conflicts, amateur sporting clubs, artistic and charitable associations, cultural events like Expo 67, fashion, the arts, etc.
The collection features nearly 2,500 books and brochures with publication dates ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Most of its volumes date from the early 1900s as the collection is largely composed of the personal libraries of David Ross McCord and William Notman. Most of the other works in the collection were published in Canada and complement the Museum’s various collections. For example, there are books on the history of Canada and Montreal, directories and almanacs, tourist booklets, art books, books written in First Nations languages, explorers’ travel accounts, children’s books, books about magic, military censuses and plan books. These writings are not only reference documents for collections research, they are also artefacts, available for consultation and displayed as part of exhibitions and other dissemination projects.
To discover in the collection
- The pleasures of an organized closet – Shared Emotions
- Stories of Involvement – Mark Gallop
- Rarely a dull day in the Archives
- The Shared Emotions project: Plumbing the emotional depths of archives
- Food: A reflection of changing social values – Shared Emotions
- The joys and agonies of late-19th century courtship – Shared Emotions
- Happy memories of Montrealers in Paris – Shared Emotions
- 1949: Dominion Corset Sparks a Scandal
- Great little love letters
- Lunch box ideas… from the 18th century to the 21st!
- The Great Antonio’s personal archives: A sizable acquisition!
- Willie Eckstein
Anyone who has ever read archival documents like letters and diaries knows that these witnesses of the past can be full of emotion. The goal of the Shared Emotions project is to make it easier for researchers and members of the public to locate elements associated with the history of sensibilities.
With the financial support of Library and Archives Canada, our team has, among other things, enhanced the descriptions of 100 groups of archival records from 29 different fonds and collections.
What's cooking in our archives! A taste of the past
Appealing in more ways than one, the Recipes and Food collection of the Museum includes nearly 1,000 cookbooks and recipe pamphlets produced between the mid-18th and early 21st centuries. It offers information about changing eating habits, social norms surrounding meals, the role of women in the family home, advertising, and the development of new culinary practices.
Museum employees had fun revisiting the recipes from this collection. Sandra Ferreira (Ferreira Group), a member of the Museum Foundation’s board of directors, also joined the fun by preparing a salad from the Joys of Jell-O booklet published in 1962.
Carrot Pie, Jell-O Crown Jewel Dessert, Eggs Benedict… Will you put some of these recipes on the menu?
In 2017, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation and 375th anniversary of Montreal’s founding, the McCord Museum is making 75,000 new images from its Textual Archives collection available to the public. Explore this selection of documents recounting the history of Canada, but more specifically that of Montreal and Montrealers over the 19th and 20th centuries.
Thanks to the financial support of Sun Life Financial, the Museum will digitize and publish online 37 archival family fonds. Discover three centuries of Quebec documents and history!
Meet the curator Mathieu Lapointe and learn more about his expertise and what he does.
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